On any given day, about 1 out of every 100 sexually active American adults has active genital warts caused by the extremely common human papillomavirus (HPV). While most people think of genital warts affecting only their genitals, warts also can form around or inside the anus too.
Like other warts caused by HPV, anal warts (or condyloma acuminata) are pretty common, and though talking about them might feel embarrassing, treatment is simple, quick, and the best way to eliminate uncomfortable symptoms.
At his practice in Deerfield Beach, Florida, Michael Tarlowe, MD, uses the most advanced methods to help patients manage their anal warts and the symptoms they can cause. Here’s how he can help you.
The ABCs of anal warts
Anal warts can be very tiny or they may grow to the size of a pencil eraser or larger. When clustered together, they can develop a “cauliflower-like” appearance. Warts can vary in color, from yellow to pink or peach to brown. Some warts blend in with your surrounding skin color, making them even harder to see.
Many anal warts cause no noticeable symptoms, and some people have anal warts without ever knowing it.
As anal warts grow, they’re more likely to cause issues like:
- Mucus discharge
Large visible warts can also cause embarrassment during intimacy. Even when larger warts don’t cause symptoms, you might still be able to feel them as small lumps around your anus.
In most cases, anal warts are passed from one person to another during sexual contact. However, genital warts can also spread through skin-to-skin contact, via oral sex, or even during deep kissing with a person who has HPV infection in their throat.
Treating anal warts
When anal warts don’t cause any symptoms, they still require treatment or removal because some anal warts might increase the risk of anal cancer, so Dr. Tarlowe typically recommends removing them, even if they aren’t causing bleeding or other problems.
The most common methods of treatment include:
- Topical creams
- Trichloracetic acid
- Surgical excision
Many warts can be treated using the first two methods. Surgery is usually the bet option for warts that are very large and for warts located inside the anal canal. The surgical procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and recovery is quick and comfortable.
Anal wart treatment gets rid of the warts that are present, but it doesn’t eliminate the virus. That means warts can recur in the future during a “flare-up.” If that happens, Dr. Tarlowe can remove additional warts using the same techniques.
Feel more comfortable and more confident
If you have anal warts, it’s easy to feel embarrassed, but remember: Millions of people are diagnosed with new HPV infections every year, and many of those individuals have or will develop anal warts. They’re common — and most importantly, they can be treated.
If you have anal warts, or you think you might, don’t put off your treatment. Call our office or book an appointment online and learn how Dr. Tarlowe can help.